How do you plan a new project? Everyone has a different approach, there is no standard, nothing is set in stone. Developing a project plan is a matter of personal preference, but here are some tips that can be applied to any type of project planning.
All Plans are Flexible: As your project evolves you might end up deviating from your original plan. There is absolutely no need to religiously stick to a plan that’s not working and steering the project in the wrong direction. Adapt to any changes and adjust for what you planned accordingly.
Break It Down: It is easier to manage a project which has been split into stages or phases. The successful completion of a phase depends on achieving a milestone or a set of milestones. Combined together, all of these milestones represented a logical sequence of reaching your projects’ goals and provide a great status overview of the entire project. Project planning is a large enough task on it’s own so it’s best to be logical in your approach.
Mind the Details: Don’t plan the entire projects’ details down to a tee; instead plan only for as far ahead as sensible. Not only is it nearly impossible to account for every single detail from beginning to end, but it really closes many doors of opportunity and makes your project very inflexible (refer to tip 1 above).
Deliver the Deliverables: The ideal project plan should clearly outline a deliverable for every task that is planned for the project. This deliverable is something tangible which shows the successful completion of a said task and can be things such as a piece of code, a document, visual diagram, etc.
Use It for Communication: Your project plan should be used as a communication tool to deliver crucial project information to your project team and stakeholders. A clear, well-presented plan which identifies set milestones and deliverables builds up the confidence of all project stakeholders, ensuring project success.
Have some project planning tips of your own? Let us know, we’d love to hear them!